the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Archive for April, 2014

Climate Today

Posted by Jeff Id on April 21, 2014

Time, time, we can’t get more time.   The climate grinds though on with or without our opinions.   Rather thoughtless of it to ignore what we think, at least in my opinion, but I suppose that is the point, or perhaps that it should be the point.   Still, people feel the need to insert their opinions in the face of climate, even when it is in conflict with climate itself.  It is as though the self-absorbed belief in the reality of their opinions trumps the reality of climate.   Climate change is real… it has always been real.  The earth warms, cools and was even a ball of lava at one time.   If we look far enough into the future, we can even see a time when the Earth becomes a superheated ball of solar plasma.

Still, our vaunted science has made the decision for us that today’s global temperature is perfect for us.   Those who made this decision are climate scientists.  Global citizens who hold themselves out to be experts in many fields, climate science, economics, government policy, energy generation, food production, ocean chemistry, computer programming, statistics, are among the most common.   These powerful individuals have established certain facts of science, which are indisputable, and utilized them to both predict disaster and recommend a future path to salvation for the entire human race.

As both Goliaths and Galileo’s of science, they see themselves as the brightest points of light, the Gaian Illuminati, those who fight against corrupted human forces for the greater environmental good.   Humanity slowly is bending to their will, following the growing outcry step by step.   The soft words of hope against the harsh reality of basic science hypnotizing them into belief that we must change as a species, and we must do it now.  But there is a disease in the movement, a not-so-subtle disease which is corrupting the message to the people, and the science.   The disease is the same disease the Gaian Illuminati seek to eradicate, yet have contracted themselves.

Money and power

And governments are more than happy to provide them both.

It has become a symbiotic relationship, like plants which require animals to create CO2 and animals which require plants to split the CO2 and release the O2, climate scientists cannot survive without government, and government needs climate science to promote its own growth.  It started in a not so subtle way, with research, then committees, then whole governmental divisions who’s whole purpose is to study climate.  First those groups made recommendations for more study, and the formation of additional subgroups.  Eventually, minor rule making was added to address the groups findings.   This pressed into whole rule-making bodies who’s sole existence was to make recommendations for regulations on industry with the premise that it would somehow help climate change.  Simultaneously, these groups continued to make more recommendations for expanded research and funding. Today, the rule making has expanded until centralized global governmental control of energy production is in sight, and we would have to willfully ignore the history to believe that stopping with energy production is a reasonable conclusion.

The corruption of the system has progressed beyond the merely palpable.  It has bent to the point where conflicting opinions are actively suppressed and misrepresentation of observed data has literally become commonplace amongst the most famous but only where it promotes the cause.   The computer climate models which started with the best intentions, have fallen wildly short of expectations, or rather observed warming has fallen well short of the models, yet our vaunted, world-powerful climate scientists have become unwilling to admit even that painfully obvious discrepancy.

Then there are those who have the gall to write against this powerful climate industry.   Because that is what climate science is.  A smog-belching, economy-sucking, rule-making, profit-taking industry.

COP15-UN-Climate-Change-S-001[1]

Opening ceremony of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen.

The sheer size of the thing should be enough to give pause, yet growth is the continued agenda, and nothing, including reality, will get in the way of this steamroller’s industrial goals.   Imagine the money to fly these people in, to pay the hotels, food, hall rental, the fuel, annual salaries, education, phone bills. Worse, these people make no product.   No net output of value comes from this group of near-universally overpriced individuals.  No output which can be trusted, believed or even parsed by a normal human is generated from the science or government organizations you see in that picture.   That statement is generally true, no matter which argument they are making. It is too corrupted with nonsense and unrelated agendas, and it is therefore very, very expensive, not because of the plane tickets, but because of the rules they demand from their subjects.   Rules as a genuflection to their beliefs, not their science, but a mash of pro-governmental and anti-industrial climate goals.

Because at the root, taxation is their food, nutrients, power, and hope for the future of their industry.  The best colleges, the most influence, the best jobs.  They need your fear to get your taxes, and whether the root-level minions know it, or admit to it, the leaders are certainly very clear on this.

Belief

Belief is the core of the cause.   Belief that any observed change of the Earth is not only caused by human activity, but is absolutely a bad thing.   Many of us wonder about the magnitude of change caused by CO2 emission, and many wonder whether the changes will create floods or hurricanes, but there is little help for understanding these or other potential consequences from the field of climate science.  Though there is plenty of scientific ‘opinion’ in the literature, the fluff and exaggeration is literally impossible to parse.

I sometimes wonder just how do they know our current global temperature is perfect?  I have seen no study which reasonably demonstrates that our current climate is truly ideal.   It seems extraordinarily unlikely to me that we were born into a perfect climate which could never change for the better in either direction.  Still, from ice ages we know with certainty, that colder is very, VERY bad for people in general.  If 6 degrees colder is so bad, how can it be so certain that only two degrees warmer is going to result in destruction.    As a general concept, it seems extremely unlikely that we have achieved the perfect balance of temperature, and an extraordinary claim such as that, should require extraordinary proof.   Yet we have none but opinion of experts to guide us in this matter.   Not science, just opinion.  And that opinion flies in the face of common sense observation of colder vs warmer climates right here on our planet.

The change is too fast they say – belief not science.

The change is crossing thresholds they claim – belief not science.

We must use green energy – belief not science

We must avoid fossil fuels – belief not science

Climate models match observation – belief not science

I will stop there because the examples are truly endless and the evidence that belief trumps all in the climate industry stares us in the face.   From anti-nuclear rhetoric to authoritarian government promotion, all the symptoms of the disease of tobacco industry style industrial corruption are exhibited.   Politics and nonsense have trumped common sense and reality.  Science has taken a necessary back seat to results, and those who wish to be most successful in the field provide the most sensationalist claims.

All for the cause.

It was a proud day when I told mom that a group of psychologists on another continent had intentionally misrepresented my opinions in order to discredit me.   It is just another very clear symptom of a greater disease that such activities are considered reasonable and allowed through a review process.

Where will it end

In short, I don’t know, but I do have a tiny piece of understanding which I learned from industry that I like to tell people in paraphrase.   Businesses in general are very tough things to break.     They can be bent, twisted and redirected, but will fight very hard when survival is the requirement.   Climategate, as big and obvious as it was, barely touched the climate industry.   Not because it wasn’t horribly embarrassing, and not because it didn’t expose corruption, but rather because it did not affect funding of the scientists involved.     Even the specific individuals involved, continued on their previous paths as though nothing had happened.  The media capitulated to pressure from the climate industry and failed to report the real issues.  But most importantly, the willing governments continued and even expanded the money flow.

Yet observations continue to defy prediction and lag ever farther behind models, some in the field are making corrections for the problem while simultaneously denying the problem even exists.  The very existence of the problem represents a condition that is impossible to rectify in the context of science yet again makes perfect sense in politics.

Perhaps it is for wiser minds than myself to visualize the future of this industry, but in general it looks pretty bleak and unstoppable to me.

Addendum – because it happened

I made the mistake of turning on Bill Maher (for the first time in my life) while writing this and just learned from a man on the panel that we need 6 garbage cans in our houses to save the planet.   He literally said 6 and the audience loudly applauded.   None of them apparently know about the industrial sorting of garbage in developed countries with only one garbage can

But they do know what they believe.

 

 

 

 

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Clarification of Understanding

Posted by Jeff Id on April 11, 2014

From WUWT and Frontiers of Psychology – a further clarification of the retraction.    I made it clear in my complaint that it didn’t seem ethical to identify and attack people in a scientific journal – after reading their code of ethics documents – and it seems others did the same.   Besides the basic ethics rationalization for retraction, I note that Frontiers left this in the middle of the paper below:

because climate change is a very serious threat for human civilization.

So they have identified themselves as sympathetic believers in a field now more akin to religion than science.   It was clearly done to let everyone know they are still on the send-us-checks and don’t-boycott-us team.  As to the rest of the content, I’m less impressed now with their reaction than I was previously.   The journal clearly doesn’t recognize just how dysfunctional they have become when the reason for retraction of a hack and slash blogpost disguised as a paper, is because names were used and nothing to do with its otherwise unscientific nature.

Anyway – here it is in full:

Rights of Human Subjects in Scientific Papers

The retracted Recursive Fury paper has created quite a blogger and twitter storm. A sensational storm indeed, with hints to conspiracy theories, claims of legal threats and perceived contradictions. It has been fury – one of the strongest human emotions – that has (perhaps understandably at first sight) guided the discussion around this retraction. Not surprisingly though, the truth is not as sensational and much simpler.

The studied subjects were explicitly identified in the paper without their consent. It is well acknowledged and accepted that in order to protect a subject’s rights and avoid a potentially defamatory outcome, one must obtain the subject’s consent if they can be identified in a scientific paper. The mistake was detected after publication, and the authors and Frontiers worked hard together for several months to try to find a solution. In the end, those efforts were not successful. The identity of the subjects could not be protected and the paper had to be retracted. Frontiers then worked closely with the authors on a mutually agreed and measured retraction statement to avoid the retraction itself being misused. From the storm this has created, it would seem we did not succeed.

For Frontiers, publishing the identities of human subjects without consent cannot be justified in a scientific paper. Some have argued that the subjects and their statements were in the public domain and hence it was acceptable to identify them in a scientific paper, but accepting this will set a dangerous precedent. With so much information of each of us in the public domain, think of a situation where scientists use, for example, machine learning to cluster your public statements and attribute to you personality characteristics, and then name you on the cluster and publish it as a scientific fact in a reputable journal. While the subjects and their statements were public, they did not give their consent to a public psychological diagnosis in a scientific study. Science cannot be abused to specifically label and point out individuals in the public domain.

It is most unfortunate that this particular incident was around climate change, because climate change is a very serious threat for human civilization. But the importance of the subject matter does not justify abandoning our principles.

Frontiers’ core mission is to improve peer review. One principle that we follow is that scientific publishing should sit in the hands of scientists. Frontiers implements this principle by supporting scientists to operate the peer-review process from the beginning to the end. Frontiers remains faithful to this mission, despite the risks that comes with it. We will stay the course because we fundamentally believe that authors should bear the full responsibility of submitting papers with the highest standards and that scientists should bear the full responsibility of deciding what science is published. After publication, the community is engaged and a post-publication review naturally follows. Post-publication review is facilitated by the Frontiers’ commenting and social networking platforms. This process may reveal fundamental errors or issues that go against principles of scholarly publishing. Like all other journals, Frontiers seriously investigates any well-founded complaints or allegations, and retraction only happens in cases of absolute necessity and only after extensive analysis. For the paper in question, the issue was clear, the analysis was exhaustive, all efforts were made to work with the authors to find a solution and we even worked on the retraction statement with the authors. But there was no moral dilemma from the start – we do not support scientific publications where human subjects can be identified without their consent.
Henry Markram
Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

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Adults in the room?

Posted by Jeff Id on April 6, 2014

Several blogs are already carrying the comment by the journal Frontiers of Science, which appears to be in response to Lewandowsky et ilk’s even-wilder-than-the-paper claims of having their rights suppressed.

(Lausanne, Switzerland) – There has been a series of media reports concerning the recent retraction of the paper Recursive Fury:Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, originally published on 18 March 2013 in Frontiers in Psychology. Until now, our policy has been to handle this matter with discretion out of consideration for all those concerned. But given the extent of the media coverage – largely based on misunderstanding – Frontiers would now like to better clarify the context behind the retraction.

As we published in our retraction statement, a small number of complaints were received during the weeks following publication. Some of those complaints were well argued and cogent and, as a responsible publisher, our policy is to take such issues seriously. Frontiers conducted a careful and objective investigation of these complaints. Frontiers did not “cave in to threats”; in fact, Frontiers received no threats. The many months between publication and retraction should highlight the thoroughness and seriousness of the entire process.

As a result of its investigation, which was carried out in respect of academic, ethical and legal factors, Frontiers came to the conclusion that it could not continue to carry the paper, which does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects. Specifically, the article categorizes the behaviour of identifiable individuals within the context of psychopathological characteristics. Frontiers informed the authors of the conclusions of our investigation and worked with the authors in good faith, providing them with the opportunity of submitting a new paper for peer review that would address the issues identified and that could be published simultaneously with the retraction notice.

The authors agreed and subsequently proposed a new paper that was substantially similar to the original paper and, crucially, did not deal adequately with the issues raised by Frontiers.

We remind the community that the retracted paper does not claim to be about climate science, but about psychology. The actions taken by Frontiers sought to ensure the right balance of respect for the rights of all.

One of Frontiers’ founding principles is that of authors’ rights. We take this opportunity to reassure our editors, authors and supporters that Frontiers will continue to publish – and stand by – valid research. But we also must uphold the rights and privacy of the subjects included in a study or paper.

Frontiers is happy to speak to anyone who wishes to have an objective and informed conversation about this. In such a case, please contact the Editorial Office at editorial.office@frontiersin.org.

This statement is in stark contrast to some other Lewandowsky’s claims (rants) which are now known to be complete fabrications:

The strategies employed in those attacks follow a common playbook, regardless of which scientific proposition is being denied and regardless of who the targeted scientists are: There is cyber-bullying and public abuse by “trolling” (which recent research has linked to sadism); there is harassment by vexatious freedom-of-information (FOI) requests; there are the complaints to academic institutions; legal threats; and perhaps most troubling, there is the intimidation of journal editors and publishers who are acting on manuscripts that are considered inconvenient.

Lewandowsky seems posses a singular ability to ignore evidence which does not support his worldview.  I’m no psycho-ologist but it seems clear that his simplified reality is a shelter for him, where he can exist as a white-hat good guy and throw rocks at those who don’t fit his model.

It seems to me that Lewandowsky is dangerously deep in his own imaginations of conspiracy.  How far will a man go who has written several articles to the point with no visible evidence to back his claims up.  In his recent rant, he made the even more ridiculous point that nobody has made a “scholarly” critique of his articles.  The same articles Lewandowsky, and his journal,  recently and consistently have refused to give others any access to the data he alleges created the paper.

UWA Vice Chancellor Johnson Refuses Data Again Again

They even called Steve McIntyre unbalanced in their refusal.  Even one with Lewandowsky’s limitations must recognize that he cannot be addressed in science, if he refuses access to his secret data.  Data which allegedly was used to conclude that many of my favorite scientists, engineers and climate professionals are conspiracy theorists. 

I mean really, this scientist is claiming that his paper is un-critiqued, while simultaneously refusing data to the people who would critique it.

I have to be careful here, or he will assume that I am saying he illegitimately adjusted the data to produce a trend and publish another whacko paper referencing me, in the last continent which will have him.   I wouldn’t put it past him one bit to tweak the data himself illegitimately, but his methodology is so skewed that the data doesn’t require tweaking to achieve his result.   It only needs a few crazy answers created by “internet people” –having fun.  Take it from a blogger, internet people are crazy!!  😀

Not as crazy as Lewandowsky though.

Still, Anthony Watts had the right title for his article: Journal takes Lewandowsky and his supporters to task on ‘threats’ over retracted ‘Recursive Fury’ paper.

It seems to me that the Journal, seeing the continuing ridiculous comments by Lewandowsky and many of his internet advocates, was compelled by the extreme inaccuracy and childish behavior of the authors, to set the record straight. I unreservedly applaud them for taking that step, it restores a modicum of their own credibility in my eyes, yet I am still left with questions:

How did that kind of blatant character attack paper get published in a “scientific” journal in the first place? 

Does the journal recognize this as an obvious symptom of internal problems?

Will the journal take the necessary self-examination steps required to correct the problem for the long term?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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